Book Club Readings

I’m not exactly sure what to say about the readings for book club on Monday. None of the cohort are in my book club group, so anything that I say is pretty irrelevant to you all.

My main observation is how depressing nearly all of the stories we’re reading are. We’ll be talking about themes of loss, death, suicide, murder, and politics. Certainly, I can’t call myself exempt from the depressing themes. The story Kelly and I picked (“In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel) deals with death and grief. It’s a great story, but not especially uplifting.

A couple of the stories are told almost entirely through dialog – “The Blind Spot,” “Murder and Suicide, Respectively,” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” I do appreciate a story with good dialog, and these three stories are an excellent spread of examples for using dialog effectively for different reasons. They’re really great examples of the art of writing, and I wonder how much the discussions will get into this. Kelly and I tried to keep our discussion outside of the realm of writerly craft, largely because Kelly is a writer and former writing teacher and I have minor in writing, so we could probably talk at great length on topics that are… um… less than engaging to most people. Give us an inch, we’ll take a mile. Fair warning.

I will be curious to see how the discussions about these stories turn out – whether or not I’ll find the discussions to be as depressing as I am imagining them to be and to what extent the conversations will overlap and flow together, considering the similarities between the texts.

6 thoughts on “Book Club Readings

  1. Kristin says:

    Great point about how the texts could interweave. You could end up with an accidental thematic book club. As you say, “Fair warning.”

  2. linguomancer says:

    I would love to see an actual library book club of writers, or at least people interested in discussing books on that level. As someone who majored in English and minored in writing, I think I would really enjoy talking about books on that level and discussing the author’s techniques or choices. Maybe that could actually be an effective way to market book clubs to people who are like us.

  3. Naomi says:

    It is definitely a dangerous road to talk about something that you specialize in but that others might not be as experienced in, but I have seen it done really well. Participants could get a buzz of your excitement, as long as you present it in an open and fun way.

  4. Miss Masura says:

    How interesting that you can already see a theme weaving through your book clubs. A few of our selections had similarities and it was really great to engage similar ideas from different perspectives with the same group of people.

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